What I have been doing so far is giving each kid their own little "display" area in the kitchen. Their "area" only holds about 5 pieces of artwork, so if they want something else displayed, they have to choose which piece they want to take down in order to put the new one up. This seems to satisfy their need to keep their artwork visible for awhile.
However, I would still like a more long-term storage solution for keeping a sampling of their artwork throughout the years. Whenever I'm trying to decide what to keep for my children, I try to ask myself if they will care about it when they're adults. The last thing I want to do is burden them with a whole bunch of "stuff" from their past that they then have to sort through and deal with. As you know, I am trying to create a life of simplicity for our family, which means less physical "stuff", and less material burdens. I don't want my children to grow up with an attachment to objects, and be overwhelmed with "stuff". So after giving all of this some thought, I think that one piece of artwork per year would be a good number to hold onto, and would give them a representation of how they progressed through the years. So how does that translate to reality? To the day-to-day output of crafting?
I think it's important for the kids to be involved in the process, so that they can learn to prioritize what is important and meaningful to them. We are already doing this with letting them choose which pieces they want to display, which also means choosing which pieces to remove from the wall. This begins the process, because it means they are only choosing the most special drawings to display (not random scribbling on paper), because they know they have to remove a piece in order to display a new one. I thought I would then give each child their own box (or folder, or basket or something - any thoughts??). As their special pieces get removed from the wall, they will get placed in the box. I will let them collect there throughout the month. At the end of each month, they will choose ONE piece out of the box that is the most meaningful to them. This will get placed in another box. The rest will get recycled. The process will repeat every month for a year. Then at the end of the year, they should have 12 pieces (one from each month) in their second box. I will let them choose ONE piece from THIS box to put in their scrapbook. (If it's large or 3-dimensional, I will simply take a picture of it to include in their scrapbook).
I think it's really important to involve them in the process, so they don't just see it as mommy throwing out their artwork, which I know crushes their little spirits. By empowering them to make those choices themselves, I think is a good lesson in prioritizing what things we should keep, and what things we can let go of.
Do you have a system for this kind of thing? I'd love to hear about it! How is it working for you?